October 2, 2023

There’s simply no stopping NASA’s plucky little Mars helicopter.

Throughout its newest airborne journey — its 57th on the purple planet since April 2021 — Ingenuity reached a complete flight time of 100 minutes.

Throughout its milestone flight, NASA’s Mars helicopter traveled north for 713 toes (217 meters) for 129 seconds, reaching an altitude of 33 toes (10 meters) and a most pace of three miles per hour (4.8 kilometers per hour).

The goal of the flight was to reposition the helicopter whereas additionally capturing imagery of designated science targets, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is overseeing the mission, said on its web site.

Thus far, the furthest Ingenuity has flown in a single flight is 2,325 toes (708.9 meters) in a mission in April final yr, whereas the longest it’s stayed airborne is 169.5 seconds in a flight in August 2021.

Ingenuity arrived on Mars with NASA’s Perseverance rover in February 2021 and the preliminary plan was to merely take a look at the know-how to see if the helicopter may get airborne within the planet’s a lot thinner environment.

Its first hover almost two-and-a-half years in the past despatched Ingenuity straight into the historical past books for turning into the primary plane to carry out powered, managed flight on one other planet.

Since then, the JPL crew has pushed Ingenuity to the restrict, sending it on a myriad of missions involving totally different speeds, distances, and altitudes, in addition to launch and touchdown spots.

The 4-pound, 19-inch-high (1.8 kg/48 cm) helicopter has ended up aiding the ground-based Perseverance rover, gathering aerial imagery to assist the crew plan secure and environment friendly routes for the car because it continues to discover Jezero Crater for indicators of historic microbial life.

Final month, JPL shared a video captured by Perseverance displaying Ingenuity within the air.

Regardless of a couple of technical points alongside the best way, the helicopter has continued to impress and has even impressed NASA engineers to construct a extra complicated model for future missions to Mars and presumably different planets, too.

With 100 minutes of flight time now underneath its belt, NASA shall be eager to see simply how far more the exceptional machine is ready to give because it continues to buzz its method throughout the martian floor.

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